Woman shot, killed by Charlotte officer, no charges expected

Published: Feb. 19, 2015 at 2:42 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 21, 2015 at 1:42 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A police officer who shot and killed a woman in northeast Charlotte on Wednesday night is not expected to face charges, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe.

Police say officer Anthony Holzhauer shot 20-year-old Janisha Fonville twice after she charged at the officer with a knife.

Police say they have responded to her home multiple times in the past. They say that four days ago Fonville stabbed her girlfriend.

According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's office, Fonville was arrested in July 2012 for failing to appear in court on a resisting arrest charge.

In a press conference Thursday morning, Monroe said that after a preliminary investigation he does not anticipate charges against Holzhauer. He said the police department is turning the case over to the district attorney's office.

Officers responded to a call for a domestic dispute between two women at an apartment in the 2700 block of Bellafonte Drive shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Monroe says the officers met the 911 caller, a woman whose identity has not been released, outside of the building. She told them the other woman involved in the dispute, later identified as Fonville, was inside the apartment with a knife.

Charlotte police released that 911 call to the media Thursday afternoon, but the call was heavily edited to take out names and identifiers.

"Well I guess, I think her and her girlfriend fell out and got into a fight," the caller told the 911 operator. "Yeah - I think they was fighting."

Officers approached Fonville, who they say was armed with a knife. That's when officers say they asked Fonville to drop the knife several times but she refused and lunged at them with the knife.

"At some point the victim went into a low crouching position arm extended moving toward the officer. Two shots were fired by the officer. We believe one of those rounds actually struck victim's hand and the knife," Monroe said.

Police say Fonville was struck in the hand and near her shoulder. Monroe also said after the shooting, Officer Anthony Holzhauer ran outside to his police car for his medical kit, then ran back in and performed CPR on the victim.

Fonville was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

According to Monroe, Holzhauer was taken to the hospital but was not injured. He described him as being "shaken." Holzhauer will have to meet with a counselor for a fit-for-duty evaluation before going back on active duty.

"We know of one witness that actually witnessed the shooting inside the apartment. We interviewed her," Monroe said. Monroe said there were two officers, three women and a baby inside the apartment at the time of the shooting.

Per standard procedure with any officer-involved shooting, Holzhauer was placed on administrative leave until a full investigation is complete. Holzhauer has been an officer with CMPD since January 25, 2010.

Neighbors and others are upset by Fonville's death and are asking why the officer didn't use a stun gun.

"You could have shot her in the leg... something that's going to make her stop charging, coming towards you. You could have shot her leg, that's no attempt to kill," Sharonda Poe said.

"She had a weapon but that doesn't give you a reason to kill her. She didn't have a gun. There's no reason to kill that baby so now somebody else's child is gone at your hands, really and you're okay with this. We're not," said William Adams of Team Trublue.

They said they also have lots of questions about Holzhauer's training and background.

CMPD said all officers are required to go through annual firearm simulator training. Officers see different scenarios presented on a screen and must decide what to do. CMPD says a knife is a deadly weapon and bullet-proof vests don't stop them.

WBTV has learned Holzhauer has been involved in two other officer-related shootings as a CMPD officer, including another deadly incident.

In July 2012, Holzhauer was involved in a shooting that killed 28-year-old Michael Laney. Laney was wanted for questioning in connection to a robbery.

Police say when officers approached Laney, he reached for a gun. According the district attorney, Holzhauer fired one shot, killing Laney. Under North Carolina law, the use of deadly force was justified. Holzhauer did not face any charges in the shooting.

Holzhauer was also placed on administrative leave after an officer-involved shoot-out in 2013.

Holzhauer and another officer approached three people in a parked car on N. Tryon Street who were reportedly loading guns. The three inside the car shot at the officers, who shot back. No one was injured in the shoot-out and the three suspects were arrested.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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